[8F23] Brother, Can You Spare Two Dimes?

Brother, Can You Spare Two Dimes?          Written by John Swartzwelder
						 Directed by Rich Moore  
Production Code: 8F23               Original Airdate in N.A.: 21-Aug-92
					  Capsule revision C, 28-May-96


   Danny DeVito returns to play Homer's half-brother, who returns to
   him seeking money for an invention after Homer wins an award and
   a cash prize at the nuclear power plant.

Opening Sequence


      I will not fake seizures.


      OFF cartwheel to the couch and strike a `Ta-Da' pose.
      (Maggie has to be helped up by Bart)
	(Recycled from 8F10.)

Syndication Notes

The syndicated version of this episode:
    does not contain the blackboard scene
    has the original couch

Did you notice...

Ricardo A. Lafaurie Jr.:   
   ... Herb has grey hair when he was a bum?
   ... Helen had orange hair in "Hands Across America"?
	[She also has orange hair in the opening sequence]
   ... teeth flying when Frazier was kicking Barney's butt?
   ... the music playing when Herb let Maggie in on the secret
       was very ominous and very inappropriate?
   ... Maggie was the mascot of the baby translator?

Chris Baird:    
   ... one of Homer's sperm had three eyes?
Alan J. Rosenthal:
   ... around the fire, one of the hobos was eating a boot?
   ... the credits superimposed over the sperm were jiggling too?

Larry Schwimmer:
   ... Barney's blood on the bar room door?
   ... Herb used an "Oscilloscopes 4 Less" oscilloscope?
Jym Dyer:
   ... Smithers' sperm swam in tight formation?
Timothy M. Schreyer:
   ... Smithers' sperm made a Space Invaders type marching noise -- 
       unh-ah unh-ah unh-ah unh-ah!

Raymond J. Chen:
   ... the teapot and cups hanging in the china hutch behind Bart
       during dinner look vaguely like the spaceship Discovery?
       (Probably a self-induced subliminal 2001 reference.)

Veronica Marquez:
   ... one of the bums is from 7F07?
   ... Bart wants cyanide tipped bullets?
   ... Moe bet on the dryer?



   - Dan Castellaneta (Homer, lawyer, Barney)
   - Julie Kavner (Marge)
   - Nancy Cartwright (Bart, Maggie's babblings)
   - Yeardley Smith (Lisa)
   - Hank Azaria (Moe, Akira, reporter, Gomer Pyle, Prof. Frink)
   - Harry Shearer (Lenny, technician, Burns, Smithers, bums, Ned, Sgt.
     Carter, rep from baby company)

Also Starring

   - Maggie Roswell (Maude, woman at park, candy baby woman, Kristie)

Special Guest Voice

   - Danny DeVito (Herb Powell, the baby translator [duh-doy --ed])
   - Joe Frazier (himself)

Movie, Music, and other References

+ Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?
    - the episode title is a very poor pun.
    - "That's right... I shot J.R."
  "Hands Across America"
    - "With the exception of a few gaps in Western states..."
  "Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.D."
+ "The Gold Rush" {ajr}
    - the Charlie Chaplin hobo eating a boot.
+ Jimi Hendrix' "Purple Haze" {cjb}
    - "S'cuse Me while I kiss the sky"
+ "2001:  A Space Odyssey" {jdb}
    - the big, coloured, circular Homer-eye made it gratuitous.
+ "Star Trek"
    - "Dammit!  I said full power!" -- an exclusive James T. Kirk
       utterance. {cjb}
    - the Asian `navigator'.  {tk}
  The Emmy television entertainment awards. {cjb}
    - the Montgomery Burns... uhh.
  "Davey and Goliath" {me}
    - Flanders' doorbell rings "A Mighty Fortress is Our God"
  "The Wizard of Oz" {me}
    - "There's no vibrating chair in that bag for me?"

Freeze Frame Fun


      A  N N  U A  L


The Train {las}

	Toxic Waste with glowing green slime
	Krusty's Sulfuric Acid  (loved this one -las)
	Emily's Fluffy Pillows  {rlg}

Homer's recollections of the couch

      Who Shot J.R.
	Hands Across America
	Berlin Wall Coming Down/Gomer Pyle

Great Works of Literature for Children

      Less than Zero
	`Some maudlin novel by Ethan Frome.'  {ma}

Herb's Baby Inventions

      Dog in a Ball
	Baby Remote Control Airplane
	Baby Translator  (patent number: 214661767 -rc)

Signs at the Baby expo

     Tu-Fr: Twin Convention  (a pun on "Two-fur"? -rjc)
     No Triplets!

Animation Credits {vm}

     Animation Production: Klasky-Csupo, Inc.
     Animation Executive Producer: Gabor Csupo
     Animation Producer: Sherry Gunther
     Overseas Animation Directors: Mike Girard, N.J. Kim
     Animation Production Manager: Maria Elena Rodriguez
     Korean Production Company: Akom Production
     Assistant Director: Alan Smart
     Storyboard Supervisor: Steven Dean Moore
     Storyboard: Raymie Muzquiz, Kevin O'Brien, Steven Dean Moore
     Storyboard Revisions: Jerry Richardson, Kelly Spencer James
     Character Design Supervisor: Dale Hendrickson
     Character Design: Scott Alberts, Matt Groening, John Rice,
       Sam Simon, John Holmquist
     Background Design: Alex Dilts, Lance Wilder
     Character Layout Artists: Mike Anderson, Eric S. Keyes,
       Andi Klein, Nancy Kruse, Istvan Majoros, Noah Miller,
       Bob Logan, Betty Tang, Anthony Wong, Andrews "Tommy" Tejeno
     Background Layout: Sarah Frost, Edgar Duncan, Phil Hayes,
       Beca Ramos
     Animation Timing: Steve Socki, Dominic Polcino
     Lip Sync: Kent Holaday

Previous Episode References

- [7G11], [7F21] Lisa: "I stand corrected."
- [7F02], [8F10] OFF strike a "Ta-Da" pose in the couch scene
- [7F16] The episode is an obvious sequel
- [7F11], [7F23] Akira is the guy selling the Spinemelter 2000
- [8F16] Gomer Pyle, USMD is seen {vm}

Animation, Continuity, and other Goofs

+ "Who Shot J.R." occurred in 1979, but back then Homer wasn't
  living in the stately Simpsons home. (See 8F10.)
+ The couch was broken, yet in the final scene, the couch stands
  good-as-new behind Homer's new chair.  {jjw}


Veronica Marquez - An utterly implausible and unbelievable tale, with
    a few good gags thrown in.  But the plot definitely stinks.  It
    gets a D.

Larry Schwimmer - True, it takes a leap of faith [to accept] both how 
    he got the idea, its execution, and the marketing.  But, who cares?
    They also all have four fingers...  Anyways, this is where Devito 
    shines.  The deliveries of what the babies were saying was perfect.

Yours Truly - Even though the episode was pretty funny, it was also
    very surreal.  Moments like the dishwasher, the 104% body fat
    scene, the achievement award, and the whole thing about the baby
    translator was farfetched.  Plus, Burns' anti-lawyer rant was very
    OOC for him.  I'd give it a C.

Quotes and Scene Summary

[Syndication times are enclosed in curly braces {} and come courtesy
of Frederic Briere.]

At the plant physical, dozens of man stand in line with their 
underwear. Lenny steps up stark naked -- turns out he forgot the 
physical was today.  He asks to borrow Homer's, and he refuses.

Tester: This can't be right.  This man has 104% body fat!
	 [turns to Homer] Hey, no eating in the tank!
 Homer: [with a chicken drumstick] Go to hell.
-- Homer's tremendous size, "Brother, Can You Spare Two Dimes?"

Homer returns home:

Marge: How was your day at work, dear?
Homer: Oh, the usual.  Stand in front of this, open that, pull down
       this, bend over, spread apart that, turn your head that way,
-- The usual day, eh?, "Brother, Can You Spare Two Dimes?"

Meanwhile, Smithers and Burns discover that Homer Simpson is sterile,
and that radiation from the plant is the reason. Smithers says that
Homer could sue for millions.  Burns asks for his lawyers. With them
assembled in Burns' office, he talks to them:

 Burns: Now before we begin, let me make one thing clear for you. I 
	want your legal advice.  I even pay for it.  But to me you're 
	all vipers!
	You live on personal injuries, you live on divorces, you live 
	on pain and misery! I-- 
	 [getting ahold of himself] 
	Oh, but I'm rambling. Would anyone like some coffee?
Lawyer: Yes, I would like some coffee.
 Burns: Want it black, don't you?  Black like your heart?  It's so 
	hard for me to listen to you, I hate you all so much! 
	I'm sorry, it's my problem, I'll deal with it.  Please 
Lawyer: If you offer Homer Simpson a token cash settlement, say a 
	couple of thou, he'll be so dazzled, he'll sign anything you 
	shove under his nose.
 Burns: [sarcastic] Oh, brilliant, a cash settlement.  I could have 
	figured that out, you buttoned-down maggot!
Lawyer: Got any cream?
 Burns: Oh yes, of course, where are my manners?
-- Burns' anti-lawyer rant, "Brother, Can You Spare Two Dimes?"

Meanwhile, below the poverty line, Herb Powell (Homer's half brother) 
has become a bum.

Yeah, I used to be rich.  I owned Mickey Mouse Massage Parlors.  Then
those Disney sleazeballs shut me down.
-- A bum, "Brother, Can You Spare Two Dimes?"

I used to own a successful car company. My secret was giving them 
Japanese names.
-- Herb Powell, "Brother, Can You Spare Two Dimes?"

Herb: Any of you guys ever drive a Tempura Hatchback?
 Bum: Hey, I got hit by one of those!
-- "Brother, Can You Spare Two Dimes?"

Then Herb relates his tale of finding out he had a half-brother, in 
clips from 7F16 that relate the story.

Forbes called it the blunder of the century.  A bit overblown, don't
you think? What about New Coke?
-- Herb, talking about the car Homer designed,
     "Brother, Can You Spare Two Dimes?"

 Herb: This is America, and in America, you're never finished as long
       as you have a brain in your head, because all a man really
       needs is an idea.
Bum 1: Well, I'm licked.
Bum 2: Me too.
-- "Brother, Can You Spare Two Dimes?"

Meanwhile, at the Simpson house:

And now, the next event in our Living Room Olympics, the always
controversial Couch Vault.  [gruff voice] I do this for Stainmaster
carpets, proud sponsor of the Living Room Olympics.
-- Bart announces the Living Room Olympics,
     "Brother, Can You Spare Two Dimes?"

To Olympics-knockoff music, Bart vaults using a broom, doesn't make 
it, and causes the couch to collapse, just as Homer walks in.

The dream is over!
-- Homer laments the fate of the couch,
     "Brother, Can You Spare Two Dimes?"

Homer: All right, who did this?
 Bart: We were just sitting on the couch quietly chatting when we heard
       a creaking noise.
 Lisa: We leapt off just in time to see it collapse.
	[puts her head on Bart's shoulder]
 Bart: There, there, you're safe now, little sister.
-- "Brother, Can You Spare Two Dimes?"

Why did this have to happen now during prime time, when TV's brightest
stars come out to shine?
-- Homer laments the fate of the couch,
     "Brother, Can You Spare Two Dimes?"

Homer recalls the "great memories" of him and the couch:  Kristie
confessing she shot J.R., Hands Across America, and Gomer Pyle

Well, friend, you're going back where you came from... the curb in
front of Flanders' house.
-- Homer laments the fate of the couch,
     "Brother, Can You Spare Two Dimes?"

Herb stands in a public park trying to figure out an idea, when a
woman struggles to understand what her baby's trying to tell her.

Herb: [confronting her] Lady, you just gave me the idea of a 
      lifetime!  How do I thank you?
Lady: Please don't hurt me.
Herb: Consider it done.
-- There's gratitude for 'ya, "Brother, Can You Spare Two Dimes?"

Homer is called into Burns' office...

   Burns: [whispering] This is the man with the lazy sperm?
Smithers: Mm hmm.
   Burns: Ah, Simpson, you big virile son of a gun!
-- "Brother, Can You Spare Two Dimes?"

Burns offers Homer a check for $2,000. All he has to do is sign this

Wait a minute, I'm not signing anything until I read it, or someone 
gives me the gist of it.
-- Homer, "Brother, Can You Spare Two Dimes?"

Burns explains hastily that Homer has won the First Annual Montgomery
Burns Award for Outstanding Achievement in the Field of Excellence.
(He says the last word like he normally says "Ex-cellent!" Homer 
agrees to sign it, but only with a big awards ceremony and a trophy.
The lawyer has to agree.

The Bonita DeWolf & her Nuclear Plant Soft Shoe Society sing the
song for the FAMBAFOAITFOE, which is simply the name of the award
with "It's the" tacked on.

Lisa: This show is the biggest farce I ever saw!
Bart: What about the Emmys?
Lisa: I stand corrected. 
-- Lisa and Bart, chattin' it up, "Brother, Can You Spare Two Dimes?"

Burns introduces Smokin' Joe Frazier...

[reading off a teleprompter] Webster's dictionary defines excellence 
as "the state or condition of being excellent."  And now, the winner 
of the First Annual Montgomery Burns Award for Outstanding 
Achievement in the Field of Excellence...
-- Smokin' Joe Frazier, "Brother, Can You Spare Two Dimes?"

Homer: [crossing fingers] Please, please, please, please, please!
 Lisa: Dad, you know you won!
Homer: Don't jinx it!
-- "Brother, Can You Spare Two Dimes?"

Of course, Homer won. He cheers for himself and kisses Marge before
falling off of his balcony seat.

[End of Act I.  Time: 7'11" {6'47"}]

In Moe's Tavern... 

Joe Frazier: Keep those pig legs coming, Moe.
	Moe: You cleaned me out, Smokin' Joe.
-- "Brother, Can You Spare Two Dimes?"

Moe and Joe Frazier try to comfort Homer about his loss of couch.

Homer, I know how you feel.  You lost the couch. I lost the heavyweight
-- Smokin' Joe Frazier, "Brother, Can You Spare Two Dimes?"

Heavyweight championship?  There's like three of those.
-- Homer, "Brother, Can You Spare Two Dimes?"

"This couch was one of a kind." Frazier consoles him, but Barney 
tells Joe to shut up. They take it outside, and Barney gets his ass
kicked. Homer takes a walk...

All right, a peanut! [eats it]
-- Barney, trashcanned, "Brother, Can You Spare Two Dimes?"

Back under the railroad, Herb talks to his fellow bums...

Herb: All a man needs is an idea.
 Bum: Then how come you're still a bum?
-- Good point, "Brother, Can You Spare Two Dimes?"

A man needs two things: an idea, and money to get it off the ground.
-- Herb Powell, "Brother, Can You Spare Two Dimes?"

But then he discovers Homer Simpson won the FAMBAFOAITFOE through a
newspaper on a bum's head. After finding out which train goes to
Springfield, Herb stows away on a pillow train.

Meanwhile, Homer mopes about.

I feel so empty, so alone, so... couchless.
-- Homer laments the fate of his couch, 
     "Brother, Can You Spare Two Dimes?"

He discovers the Spine-Melter 2000. Trying it out, Homer asks for 
full power and is pulled into a 2001 style dream sequence. Homer 
wants to take it, but Marge finds out it costs $2000.

There's an empty spot I've always had inside me. I tried to fill it
with family, religion, community service, but those were dead ends.
-- Homer discovers his new couch, 
     "Brother, Can You Spare Two Dimes?"

Homer thinks the chair is the answer, but Marge convinces him not to
buy it.  So he sticks around trying out the chair some more.

Herb is at the place -- he sees two adjoining house, one clean and 
one messy. He chooses the clean one. He rings the doorbell, and it
plays "A Mighty Fortress is Our God". Got a feeling he had the wrong

 Ned: [answering the door] Yes?
Herb: Oh, I'm sorry, I must have the wrong house.
 Ned: Oh, that's where you're wrong, friend.
-- Herb pays a visit, "Brother, Can You Spare Two Dimes?" 

Herb's in luck -- today's Tithe Day at the Flanders and they got a

Todd: Dad, can I anoint the sores on [Herb's] feet?
 Ned: No, I think it's Mom's turn, son.
Todd: Aw, no fair.
-- Goody two-shoes family, "Brother, Can You Spare Two Dimes?" 

They clean up Herb and give him a suit.

If you ever want to sleep over, Maude and I can sleep on card tables.
-- Ned Flanders, "Brother, Can You Spare Two Dimes?" 

Todd starts "Onward, Christian Soldiers" and the whole family joins 
in.  Homer, sitting on his collapsed couch, covers his ears.

Oh, they're singing again.  Lousy neighbors, wish I was deaf.
-- Homer, "Brother, Can You Spare Two Dimes?" 

The doorbell rings. Herb waits outside.

	[at the door]
 Herb: What am I going to say?  This is the guy who ruined me. But
       on the other hand, he's family. So many conflicting emotions,
       how to express them?
	[Homer answers the door.]
Homer: Herb? 
	[Herb punches him out]
-- There's a good way, "Brother, Can You Spare Two Dimes?" 
Herb walks over Homer's body and is greeted by Bart and Lisa. Homer 
laments,  "You weren't so happy to see me."

 Herb: Every word you say just makes me want to punch you in the 
Homer: Well, while you're a guest in my home, could you just kick me
       in the butt?
 Herb: I'll try, but I'm not making any promises.
-- "Brother, Can You Spare Two Dimes?" 

Marge greets Herb with equal surprise as everyone else.

Marge: Herb! How have you been?
 Herb: Well, I've been living in a cardboard box, sleeping on grates,
       eating out of dumpsters.  You?
Marge: Hmm, can't complain.
-- "Brother, Can You Spare Two Dimes?" 

Homer gives Herb the grand tour, including how to work a light 
switch.  He doesn't know what it does (it strikes up a Christmas roof
light show meant for 1985.) They eat dinner.

Bart: Unckie Herb, what advice would you give to a young boy who
      would most likely become a bum like yourself?
Herb: Discarded pizza boxes are an inexpensive source of cheese.
-- "Brother, Can You Spare Two Dimes?" 

Lisa: Why didn't you write, Unckie Herb?
Herb: Hey, if I wrote to you, what was I supposed to say? "Dear
      Lisa, last night I used a rat for a pillow, thanks to your 
-- "Brother, Can You Spare Two Dimes?" 

Herb lets Maggie in on a secret: she's going to make him rich again.
Inappropriate onimous music plays. Later, the family plays Monopoly.
Herb's turn:

Herb: [rolls a 3] Ventnor Avenue.
Lisa: And while on Ventnor Avenue, you'll be staying at the fabulous
      Hotel Lisa. A valet will be around shortly to park your 
      thimble.  Of course, there is the unpleasant matter of the 
Herb: Get to the point.
Lisa: 1150 bones.
-- "Brother, Can You Spare Two Dimes?" 

Herb pays him the money, and he's bankrupt. "Just like in real life,"
laughs Homer. "I guess you're just not much of a businessman." Herb 
punches him.

Why are we playing games when we got two grand in the bank? Remember
when Homer won the Montgomery Burns Award for Outstanding Acheivement
in the Field of Excellence?
-- Bart (whuzzuh)?, "Brother, Can You Spare Two Dimes?" 

Lisa thinks the money should be invested in the Greater Books of the
Western Civilization. Homer reminds Marge she wanted to buy a 
vibrating chair, but Marge retorts: "That was your idea!" Bart has a
different plan on how to spend the money:

I think we should get a machine gun. We can use it to hunt game, spell
out things, or ring in the New Year!
-- Bart, "Brother, Can You Spare Two Dimes?" 

Marge thinks the money should be spent on a new washer and dryer. (A
scene of the shaking machines about to crush Snowball II proves her

 Herb: How would you like to spend $2,000 to give a broken man a
       second chance?
Homer: Nah.
-- Brotherly love, "Brother, Can You Spare Two Dimes?"

Herb invites the family in for a presentation that will change the 
world, and brings out a drinking bird. Homer is in awe. Herb tells
him to take it easy, but Homer continues to ogle the bird. Herb
introduces his true plan: a baby translator.

It measures the pitch, the frequency, and the urgency of a baby's cry,
and then tells whoever's around, in plain English, exactly what the
baby's trying to say!  Everything from "Change me" to "Turn off that
damn Raffi record!"
-- Herb explains his baby translator,
     "Brother, Can You Spare Two Dimes?"

Herb says that he simply needs $2,000 for research. The whole family
agrees that Homer should give him the money.

Homer: All right, Herb. I'll give you the money, but first you
       have to forgive me and treat me like a brother.
 Herb: Nope.
Homer: All right, then just give me the drinking bird.
-- Homer and the bird, "Brother, Can You Spare Two Dimes?"

[End of Act II.  Time: 15'25" {15'01"}]

Herb goes through the various stages of the testing process. After a
long period of research, Herb unveils his creation.

Herb: Now I bet you're all wondering what lies under this sheet.
Bart: Not really.  We snuck a peek while you were in the john.
-- "Brother, Can You Spare Two Dimes?"

He reveals his less-than-spectacular creation. Marge "oooh"s. Herb
says "You don't have to humor me", but she retorts that it's pretty
ingrained.  Homer says it's the stupidest thing he ever saw.

Homer: I can't believe we spent $2,000 on this when right now rollers
       could be kneading my buttocks.
 Herb: Homer, would you stop thinking about your ass?!
Homer: I try, but I can't...
-- An ass-obsessed man, "Brother, Can You Spare Two Dimes?"

Just then Maggie reveals its ability.

Lavish attention on me, and entertain me.
-- Maggie's first "words", "Brother, Can You Spare Two Dimes?"

Everyone is in awe. Lisa plays peekaboo with her.

      Lisa: Maggie? Maggie? [covers her eyes]
    Maggie: [babbles]
Translator: [monotone] Where did you go?
      Lisa: Peekaboo! [uncovers eyes]
    Maggie: [laughs]
Translator: [monotone] Oh, there you are. Very amusing.
-- The side-effects of the translator, 
     "Brother, Can You Spare Two Dimes?"

Homer still isn't convinced.

People are afraid of new things. You should have just taken an existing
product and put a clock on it or something.
-- Homer, on the baby translator, "Brother, Can You Spare Two Dimes?"

But Marge must dissent. In bed, Homer laments his fate.

I gave Herb all the money I had in the world, and he still treats me
like something he pulled out of his ear.
-- Homer laments his fate, "Brother, Can You Spare Two Dimes?"

In the Baby Convention ("Tu-Fr, No Triplets!"), Professor John Frink
unveils his baby airplane, which allows your baby to fly. Frink
demonstrates with his son. But after a "perfect landing" fails, Frink 
is upset. "Oh, no, my wife is going to kill me." Herb's baby 
translator is much more of a success.

I'm rich again! U-S-A! U-S-A!
-- Herb's success with the translator,
     "Brother, Can You Spare Two Dimes?"

Herb gives his family several gifts. To Marge, he buys new washer and
dryer, and sold the old ones for $50. At Moe's Tavern, the washer and 
dryer are being raced. Bart gets a membership in the NRA. Lisa gets
a subscription to the Greater Books oof the Western Civilization.

I bet you don't have a vibrating chair in that bag for me.
-- Homer to Herb about his lack of present,
     "Brother, Can You Spare Two Dimes?"

Herb invites Homer to walk him to his car. Homer asks what he gets,
unless it's a punch in the face. Herb forgives Homer and allows him
to call Herb "brother", and he can do the same.

 Herb: Give me a hug, brother.
Homer: All right, but I never really hugged a man before.
-- "Brother, Can You Spare Two Dimes?"

They hug, and a truck pulls in. "I got you the damn chair!" Homer
multiple-kisses him. At the end of the show, Homer sits in his
vibrating chair with glee, vibrating away. So are his few sperm.

[End of Act III.  Time: 20'05" {19'40"}]


  {ma} - Mark Atchison
 {cjb} - Chris Baird
 {jdb} - J.D. Baldwin
  {rc} - Ron Carter
 {rjc} - Raymond J. Chen
  {me} - Mark Eckenwiler
  {vm} - Veronica Marquez
 {ajr} - Alan J. Rosenthal
 {las} - Larry Schwimmer
 {jjw} - John J. Wood

Legal crud

The above compilation of observations, quote summaries, statistics, and
other miscellaneous information copyright 1996 Chips-Fey Productions.
Not to be used in a public forum without explicit permission from the
author (Ricardo A. Lafaurie Jr.) or his brother Jose Lafaurie.

Any quoted material above remains property of the original authors;
mainly, quoted material and episode summaries remain property of The
Simpsons, and copyright to Twentieth Century Fox.  The compilation is
what I did.  So don't sue.

This capsule is dedicated to the memory of Doris Grau.  May her raspy,
harsh Yiddish voice live on in us all.